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Outdoor Adventure Games

Outdoor Adventure Games

In my opinion, there are 3-4 main types of outdoor adventure games, which can be combined with each other into an exciting story. You must think up your own story to accompany the game.

  1. Smuggling games: Something must be smuggled somewhere
  2. Tactic and fighting games: Attack and defend with cunning and pitfalls
  3. Treasure hunt: Search and solve tasks

These main types of games should now be packed into a story. The creativity of each youth leader is then asked, because the “packaging” of the game is important. Apart from this, the games depend upon local conditions, upon the weather and the amount of time available. Last but not least, the age of the children plays a role. A simple treasure hunt is better for small children then the rougher “fight” games.

  1. Smuggler game

    Flour, rice or chalk is smuggled from a secret place in plastic bags or cans and taken to their stores. The customs officers must try to stop them.

  2. Treasure hunt as an orienteering run

    A specific point is set as the starting point. With the help of a map and compass, the first target point is set and hopefully found. Use direction instructions (along a section of wood, across a field to a tree, cliff, bush etc). A message is found in a pipe. A trail of sawdust leads the group on. An object is used to burst a balloon in which a message is found. Fix the number of stations to a certain target. Should the group lose the track on the way, they may use a mobile phone to contact youth leader (points deducted).

  1. Walking game as a treasure hunt

    Using small cards, specific positions must be found. At the position, a new card with the next task is to be found. Treasure is placed at the finishing point.

  2. Bomb commando

    A team has the task of blowing up a structure. On this structure is an alarm clock with a specific time set. Using a plan of the area, the group moves away from the bomb position. A second group searches for the first group. Every minute, the first group must flash a light. Should the police (the 2nd group) find the group, they can use the plan to find the bomb and deactivate it. If the alarm clock rings, the first group has won.

  3. Knocking game

    A couple of players knock on trees. The rest of the group tries to find the knockers and if they are successful, they receive a card from the knocker. The group or person with the most cards has won. Alternatively, each knocker has a different coloured set of cards and whichever team has the most different colours has won.

  4. Smuggle game

    2 teams each own a water source and a depot. Each team now tries to smuggle water from the source in water bottles into their depot. They are not allowed to be stopped within 5-10 meters of the source or depot.

  5. Strategy

    Every player receives a playing card. Then the players try to catch each other. The pair shows each other their cards. The player with the lower value card must give his card to the other player and then run back to the depot to collect a new card. A six can conquer an ace.

  6. Smuggle game with secret transport

    One or more closed boxes with bells etc. inside must be transported silently through an enemy area.

  7. An outdoor game – based on creeping

    An enemy building/area is crept up to, a flag is stolen, treasure is found, a bomb (alarm clock) is set and prisoners are freed. Watch out! The bomb should not go off too early. The attackers are split into groups. Good timing is the key.

  8. A smuggling game with puzzle pieces

    Different pieces of a puzzle must be smuggled and only when a certain number have been collected, can the puzzle be put together to solve a clue. The opposing team has the task of catching as many puzzle pieces as possible to find the treasure themselves. The puzzle pieces can either be given out by a group leader or scattered in specific areas and must be brought back to a specific place to be put together.

  9. Catching and seeking games

    A treasure hunt with tasks to be solved along the way (a combination of station games and a treasure hunt).

  10. Seeking outdoor games

    Different tasks are presented. Whoever solves the problems correctly by or combining the solutions and finds the treasure has won.

    • Make a map of the area with compass and thumb measurement points.
    • Draw in any high points and any specific points (e.g. tree)
    • Draw a grid
    • On/near cross-section/square XY, the treasure is to be found/the next clue is to be found.

    Make up some clues/tasks which always lead to the next step/leads to the next task.

  11. Seek and catch game

    Approx. 1/4 of the group are searched. If they are found, they should give out a sweet (or similar). Whoever has the most has won. Alternatively, they all have different types of sweets. However can present the most different types has won.

  12. Fighting game

    Two teams are made. Each group has a king, which the opposing team must find and bring back to their own den. A slightly brutal game similar to “tagging” but is always exciting if the groups play fair.

  1. Strategy game (spying)

    Each player plays a specific role (similar to strategy). Each player must show their role playing card. The one with the higher level wins. The player with the lower card now works for the other “side” and receives a new role play card from the central stores. It might happen that the player with the lower card must play a special/double role and has to play for both sides or even for a third party.

  2. Defence games / defend the treasure

    A certain area (ruins) must be defended and the opponent must be stopped from entering the area. The opponents can also be taken prisoner. A treasure/fictive person/object must be freed and must be taken from the area without being noticed.

  3. Red Indian day – the war axe of the Sioux und Apaches

    Game idea:
    There is a huge feud between the Sioux and the Apaches. There fight at all times. A group of prospectors who are looking for gold, a small group of locomotive engineers and a wise missionary find themselves between the two Indian tribes. Will they make it through? Can the engineers lay their tracks (lay certain markings) without being sabotaged by the reds? Will the gold hunters find their treasure or are the Sioux waiting for them? Will the missionary, the wise father, be able to bring the two tribes to reconcile with each other?

    Game rules:
    Each player receives a head piece. The Sioux have a handkerchief wrapped around their heads; the Apaches have a red piece of rope. Each tribe is well painted and is wearing a suitable costume. There is the risk that you can be scalped or tied up on the totem pole.

    The missionary (a member of staff) has the task of trying to get the two tribes to reconcile and to invite all tribe members to meet up and smoke the peace pipe in a clearing in the woods. The players who agree to solve their differences must free all redskins.

  4. Search party

    Before the beginning of the game, the youth leader marks out a playing area with different coloured illumination sticks or tea lights in different coloured jam jars or on aluminium foil.

    The group is told that an airplane has crashed and lost some valuable freight which must be collected up. Each group is only allowed to collect one specific type of freight. For special items (black metal boxes/shoe boxes) there are bonus points. The staff must watch out that no items are taken or hidden from the other teams. Items of freight can also be dangerous Isotopes which illuminate (hence the illuminating sticks).

  5. Another smuggling game

    The group is split into police and smugglers. The relation of police to smugglers should be adapted according to the difficulty level of the area.

    • The policemen set up headquarters with a jail.
    • The policemen must catch all smugglers before the end of the game. For each caught smuggler, there is one point and for each smuggler who is not caught, two points are deducted.
    • The smugglers must try to avoid being caught. Smugglers who are caught can be freed again if they are tagged by another smuggler who is still in the game.
    • You are taken prisoner by a simple tagging, by pulling a life string, or by pulling a plastic strip from the trousers. The smugglers must then proceed to jail without any protest.
    • Around the jail is a ban zone. No smuggler can be taken captive once he has reached this area. Otherwise there would be no chance of freeing any prisoners.
    • An extra task might be for the smugglers to try to smuggle an object. For each object smuggled from A to B there is a bonus point which is added to the final score.
  6. Hunt the leader

    The leaders hide themselves in a sectioned off area of the woods. Each player must now try to tag as many leaders as possible. For each tagged leader, the player receives a sweet or a point for the one who has found him/her first. The leader is now allowed to move to another position without being followed by the players. In order to make the whole thing fairer, instead of sweets, a signature can be given. This signature must then be stamped which gives the leader a little break and won’t be directly followed again from the players.

    The winner is the team or player who has collected the most stamped (authorised) signatures at the end of the game.

  7. Rail track wars

    The group marks out railway track with a band (marking tape) in the woods. The other group (the Red Indians) try to ambush the railway tracks in that they remove the bands. The tracks can be marked out in straight lines amongst approx. 10 trees. The railway track guards now try to defend their track. Depending on the size of the group and area available, the size of the playing area and the amount of tracks can be adapted accordingly. The game rules should be discussed beforehand. Options might be to decide if prisoners can be taken and how (tagging, grappling, Paper-stone-scissors, pulling a piece of string etc.).

  1. Capture the Flag

    In this game, there are 2 teams who search for the flag of the other team in 2 similar sized areas. You will need materials for 2 flags (a stable stick and material), a piece of rope to separate the areas and a rope to mark out the jail.

    First of all, the group should be split into two teams of around the same size and each team receives a flag which they must stick into the ground in a visible place – not lying on the ground. A member of staff checks if this has been done correctly. If an attacker from the other team comes into your area, you are allowed to try and catch him. If the team manages to catch the opponent, he must go to prison. He must stand with at least one foot in the prison. If several prisoners are in jail, they are allowed to make a chain. The prison guard must stay at least 2,5m away from the prison otherwise no-one can manage to free anyone and the game would become very boring.

    If someone manages to steal the flag, he must bring it over the centre line. If he doesn’t make it over the line because a defender has caught him, he can either pass the flag onto a fellow player, NOT THROWN!!!! If he does not do this or cannot do it, he must surrender the flag and the team then has 30 seconds to reposition the flag. The winning team is the team who brings the flag of the opposite over the line the most number of times, or if it is a tie, the team with the least players in jail. After each round the area/teams are changed.

  2. A particularly difficult treasure hunt

    Sent in by Bernd Müsse.

    Here is my successfully tested idea for a really difficult treasure hunt: The main principle has not been changed: Tracks or clues are prepared, which the “followers” have to follow to reach the next target. What you will need for this games (except the treasure or prize) is: several small trees, light bushes, a ball of wool, scissors and a volunteer to lay the tracks. OK, it goes like this.

    From the finishing point, the track layer lays a straight (!) trail in one direction until he comes to a small branch or twig which points back to the direction where he started (as twigs and branches grow from trees in all directions, the search should not be too difficult). He hangs a piece of wool to this twig.

    From this point he carries on in a straight (!) line. He is only allowed to change direction where a piece of wool hangs. He now attaches a piece of wool to a twig pointing back to where the last piece of wool is and so on and so on…..

    The level of difficulty can be varied greatly:

    • The pieces of wool are hidden or visible
    • The wool is coloured red (visible!) and green / brown (invisible!)
    • The quantity of pieces of wool
    • The length of the wool

    I have heard of several groups which were bought to despair with this version of the game (it must also sharpen the kids senses), but at the end all of them were proud of their achievements. I wish you lots of success with your superb website! Regards, Bernd

  3. Candles and peas – a night time terrain game

    This game was suggested and sent in by Riki P. The group is split into two teams which are placed on two opposite sides of a marked out playing area. Each team has two leaders. One of the two leaders in each group is given candles and lighters and the second leader in each group is equipped with peas. Group A has their "candle leader" on group B’s side and vice versa. Each player now receives a candle (tea light in a glass) which is lit by the “candle leader" and is smuggled to the “pea leader” who then blows the candle out in exchange for a pea. This must then be handed to the “candle leader” who keeps the pea and re-lights the candle. The opposing group tries to do the same thing while both teams try to blow the other team’s candles out, so that they have to go back to the “candle leader”. They can also try to steal the peas by tagging the others. It can be useful to split the groups up. However only those with a burning candle are “alive” and can blow out the other candles or steal the peas. The winning group is the group with the most peas after a certain length of time! It is a lot of fun if it is not raining too heavily or is too windy. However a little wind and rain can increase the difficulty level!

  4. Gold Rush

    500 trink coaster mats are hidden in the surrounding area. The kids must now swarm out and look for the trink coaster mats. However there are group leaders along the way acting as attackers who can take the trink coaster mats away from the kids. At the end of the game if the kids have more mats than the leaders they have won. If the group leaders have more, they are the winners.

    The beer mats are to be handed in in the dining tent. There is a no go zone around the dining tent into which the attackers may not go.

  5. Number-Zock

    The game “number zock” is played with 2 teams in the evening/at night in the woods. Each person receives a sign with a number (we had six figures) on their head. The numbers between the teams can vary – as example with us, one team had red and the other team had blue numbers. The aim of the game is call out the numbers of the opposing team – if someone’s number is called they are out. The numbers are not allowed to be hidden using your hands however, you can lie on the floor – head down or press the head against a tree, hold the head under water etc.

    The players should wear black clothing that is suitable for becoming dirty and should also have torch.
    Sent in by Kristina

  6. A night-outdoor game: Grouse hunting

    Helpers hide in a section of the woods and with intermittent intervals should make cackling type noises. The participants have to search for the “chickens”. For each “chicken” found a certain amount of play money is given (or corn) depending on the difficulty of finding the hiding place. The discovered “chickens” have to hide themselves again and start to cackle after an agreed time.
    Sent in by Johann R.


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